Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Completed my first Documentary!

Check out the Doc I just finished about the Texas 200.

 The name of the documentary is "Two Hundred Miles in a 15 Foot boat". Just put that in the youtube search engine if the link does not work. Thanks for viewing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Project!

Another project.   Ok I'll admit I am delaying having to work on the trailer...I can't stand working on trailers, but this one is important.

I have found that anytime a passenger goes for a ride he or she always wants to sit or stand in the companionway.  They usually end up standing because sitting on the threshold of the companionway is not comfortable for very long (like about 30 seconds).  Many of the pocketship builders have built seats that ease the pain of the plywood edge.  

I wanted to make something small and easy to store, strong yet lightweight.  After a bit of head scratching I came up with some that seems like it is going to work.  I will be taking a passenger in the upcoming Texas 200 and it will get a good field test before I spend a lot of time on the paint and finish. Originally I had planed to put a couple of drink holders in the top, and still might do it, but I am up to six drink holders all ready.  You would think this is a Dodge Caravan.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

If Blogging was not Enough...

I have a pretty good background in photography that goes back to the days of film.  I know its hard to tell from these blog pictures that are all taken with my cell phone, but I really do. I promise.

With this background I have decided to get into video.  I figure the only thing really interesting enough to video and download to youtube would be something to do with my Pocketship.  There are really fun to watch videos on Youtube with beautiful young couples on 30 to forty foot yachts.  The obvious video project for me would  be documenting the Texas 200.  Kind of a grimy version of the same thing without the hot chicks.

 I figured that I really need practice shooting video and learning the editing program.  I have noticed on the videos of Pocketships on youtube have not shown any interior shots.  With the boat in the shop I figured that was a good place to start.  I shot some footage (do they still call it that?) and put together a little three minute video of a tour of Candy-O.

I'll keep shooting and editing some little projects until the Texas 200 starts in 65 days.  I figure that will be enough time to become the Ken Burns of sailing videos.

Jury Duty Again!

Just before I started Candy-O I had jury duty.  I got in and out fairly quickly for Nueces County.  Then the Feds called me in for their version of jury duty.  That time I got picked and served on a jury for about a week.  I had a short mention of it interrupting my boat building progress in an earlier blog entry. I was called in again by the county but got out of it because I just served on the federal jury. About six weeks ago I got called in by the county again.  Yep, picked again and served 2 weeks on a jury for an attempted murder of two policemen plus a stolen vehicle and drug charge.  It was pretty high profile.  Lots of news media.  Well just as I get progress going on the boat getting ready for the Texas 200 again this year the municipal court sends me a jury summons.  I really hate to complain because I truly feel obligated and feel good about doing my civic duties, but come on!

For those of you scoring at home, that's five in the last year.

I get called in usually an average of once or twice a year and don't get picked.  I had a Cal Ripken like streak of not getting picked.  The streak went on for years and years.  Then there were the last two times...I am pretty sure I can get out of this latest one pretty quickly after serving so recently.  I go in Monday.

Don't the courts know I am working on a boat?!!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

100 Days Until the Texas 200!

For the past few weeks I have been finishing Candy-O.  That's right,  finishing.  Last year at this time I was determined to make it to the Texas 200, a 200 mile cruise up the Texas coast starting at almost Mexico going up the Texas coast 200 miles.  At the halfway point in where I live (Corpus Christi).  I accomplished my goal of having Candy-O ready for the 200 and had her in the water one week before the Texas 200 start.  Mission accomplished!

After a bit of a rough start things really smoothed out and I was off and sailing.  The copious amount of new things I learn was like drinking from a fire hydrant.  I really only had the sailing skills of a 12 year old, because the last time I had sailed solo on a sailboat I was 12.  On the upside, I did a lot of sailing when I was 12! The sailing came back to me like riding a bike.

In the mornings of the Texas 200, the winds were light.  The distances of  the legs were long and the combination of the two made for very long days.   Seat cushions could have gone a long way in making the second day much more enjoyable. There were other things like a tiller extension that also would have added comfort.  I found sleeping in the boat was nice with the memory foam mattress topper I picked up at Walmart just before the start.  The problem I had was in the middle of the night the mosquito netting I had taped up in the companion way feel down.  I had a few hungry visitors with me before the nigh was over.  I am building some screens into a spare set of drop boards,  I also purchased a DC powered fan.

An outboard motor would have been nice.  The outboard would not only aid in getting into and out of some of the tight harbors but would aid in safety if something in the rigging broke or I got caught in a bad current with unfavorable winds thing could figuratively go south in a hurry.

I did a really good job on a lot of things for the Texas 200.  It is amazing what you can learn from the internet in preparation for such an event.  I had pretty much everything I needed, and went overboard (pun intended) on a bunch of stuff I didn't need.  I am still finding things I packed and didn't need, or forgot I had.  This year I can be more methodical with my cargo.

After the Texas 200 I took out Candy-O in some fairly stiff winds and found some spots on the boat that need attention.  The sail track on the mast is screwed on with screws every 3 or four inches.  I used 1/2" screw into the soft sitka spruce mast material.  The screws began to pull out...not good.  Also the guy wires seemed loose.  The turn buckles I was using were bottomed out and could not be tightened any more.  Gotta fix that!  It was a good thing I bailed out at the halfway point before I would have found these problems in the middle of nowhere.

It has been nice having Candy-O back in the Pocketship Yard.  I really enjoy working on her and dreaming of not just making it to the Texas 200 but finishing the 200 in comfort.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Mad Rush

About halfway through the build I got a crazy idea that I could finish the project AND do the Texas 200.  There is a saying that the homebuilt aircraft guys have when you ask them when their projects will be finished, "80% and 80% more to go!"  When I was halfway I thought I was at the the 80% point.

To make the Texas 200 I went into overdrive to finish the boat in the six weeks leading up to the launch
.  Pretty much everything was put on hold including blog post to accomplish my goal.  One week before the Texas 200 I launched Candy-O.

It was a great day!  The winds were a bit light and a rainstorm was brewing out in the Corpus Christi Bay but it was incredible to hear the sounds of water slapping the hull.  Up to this point the only sound the boat made was that of a random orbital sander.  It sailed like a real boat, not just something put together in the garage.  It felt solid and even with my lack of recent sailing experience felt like what I think a sailboat should feel like.

One week later after only one outing I headed down to South Padre Island to begin my sail up the coast 200 miles for the Texas 200.

It's funny there are so many things that have forced me out of my comfort zone on this build.  One is paint finish.  It came out pretty good in some areas, others still need a bit of work.  Electronics was another of my weak areas.  This is where I exceeded my expectations.  The electronics came out great.  Everything works great and is wired properly.  Cabin lights, GPS with transducer, navigation lights, stereo with powered antenna, master switch, solar panel, USB ports for charging my phone, and a cigarette lighter port for other charging, and a fused switch panel, all worked perfect!  I learned about busbars and proper connections all through youtube videos.  It is amazing the power of the internet.  The rigging went smoothly too.  It is funny how everything makes sense when you have to put it together yourself.  The Texas 200 was just another thing out of my comfort zone I had to do.

For the longest time during the build, I wanted to go with a bright finish on the upper panels.  For weeks I carefully and painstakingly took care of the plywood wood veneer on the upper portions above the rub rails.  Well it just didn't look like what I wanted so on went the Hateris white paint.  The paint scheme pretty much resembles the prototype with the dark blue boot stripe and the white on top.  A lot of pocketships have used this color combination for good reason.  It looks good!  Not real original but it looks similar to the boat I fell in love with in the 2008 or so CLC catalogue.

I did half of the Texas 200 and decided to call it enough and tapped out.  There were some things that I needed to change or I should say add or tweak on Candy-O.  One of the most pressing changes is the need for seat cushions.  Eight hours of sitting on a hard wood/fiberglass cockpit deck in a pair of pants with one of those bathing suit liner things grinding into your skin like a cheese grater gets old.

Another tweak would be a problem I had with the wire supports that go to the top of the mast.  These tighten with turnbuckles that I purchased from West Marine.  When I first installed them they looked to be the perfect length but when I added the 3/4" block at the base of the tabernacle, to get the tension they bottomed out.  The tension was good but not great.  With the problems some of the other builders have had cracking their cabins, I was really concerned.  It is an easy fix at home.

Soloing the Texas 200 is a bit difficult when it comes to doing little things like changing the radio station, getting a drink, landing the boat, you know, important stuff.  The radio will have a remote that can be operated from the cockpit.  A small ice chest will accompany me within arms reach too.

An umbrella or some type of binimi will be considered too.  Man, it was hot!

Before I punted on the bright finish on the uppers.

Would have been easier if I had decided to paint earlier...much easier!

This is one of those extreme pucker times, but all went smoothly.

One of the last jobs!
Raising the main for the first time!

Electronics worked great!

Maiden voyage!

Another from the maiden voyage with Chris, the best J-29 skipper ever!

Made it to the Texas 200 in South Padre.

From the Texas 200.

Shot from Candy-O in the Land Cut- Texas 200.

Dinner on Candy-O while camping in the Land Cut. Yumm!

Nice shot of my Burka.  The sun was intense 

Shot of the fleet.  There were 91 or so in all.  Candy-O is the one on the far left with the dark sail.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flippin' Party the Sequel !!

It was great to have the flippin' crew back in the Pocketshipyard for round two of the boat turn.  This time I had the pizza and beer ready for the crews arrival in the shop.  For future builders, be sure to have the proper libations for the first flip, that way it increases the chances the crew will come back next time.  It is always great to have people in my shop.  Ninety-nine percent of the time it is a solo endeavor except for the occasional mouse with an incredible ability to avoid glue traps.

There is a sense of urgency to get this beast done.  The Texas 200 is nearing and I need to get this boat dialed in before June 6.

Since my last post (the first flip) I epoxied and glass the entire hull, sanded, painted the hull, painted the hard to reach place inside with the boat was upside down, built the mast and spars, the tabernacle, decided on the name of the boat, built a boom gallow and did a bit of varnishing.  Yep, busy!

Really the only things left on the boat are things I am really not very proficient.  I have woodworking down, my fiberglassing techniques have improved to a point that I can put them in the strong column and sanding is a well practiced skill where I am pretty solid.  Painting, electrical, and rigging are three areas that I lack either experience or much skill.  Well, thats all that is left for the most part.

I read a great article on painting.  It pretty much said keep stacking on coats as good as you can and eventually you will get one you like and can stop...that's about four or five coats for me usually.  That works.  The hull paint came out close to acceptable.  The flipping' crew was complimentary of the paint job...well, they are really nice people.

I was not real happy with the paint on the hull, and figured I had nothing to lose, I took out some 1200 grit paper and wet sanded the Interlux bright side paint.  It leveled out nicely with the sanding but of course was now very dull.  Took out the buffer and polishing compound and went to town and bam!  The gloss was back.  I was happy enough with the test area that I hand sanded the entire  bootstripe area.  It is now acceptable enough.

The bottom I painted with Trilux 33.  It has some antifouling qualities.  If I had it to do over I would not have used this stuff.  The boat will live on a trailer and it is really difficult to get this paint smooth.
Flipped over!

It is nice to have the boat out of the inverted position.  It is like having an old friend back.

Transom glass.  Last big fiberglass job left!

Lasers are essential for getting the water line right.

I used a laser for taping the water line stripe.  The laser goes around corners and depending on the location and angle of the hull of the stripe width changes, but as viewed from the side looks like a consistent width.

The stripe changing width is most noticeable at the stern.

Initially I painted the stripe white and gold, but the gold paint had no gloss as advertised on the the can.  Oh well, I like the red better anyway.

The blue boot stripe is reminiscent of the Pocketship prototype.

From the first time I saw the Pocketship in the CLC catalog sometime around 2008 I really liked the dark blue boot stripe.  I followed the tradition as have many other Pocketship builders and also went with the blue.

Centerboard installation

The manual suggests no finish on the centerboard.  Just a 400 grit sanded finish.  Everything else has been right in the manual.  I am not going to deviate on this one.

One of the chores to do while the boat is inverted.

While upside-down the manual suggests to do some painting on some of the hard to reach and nearly impossible paces to paint inside the cabin.  This is underneath the cockpit seating area inside the cabin.  Originally I was going to leave the wood bright.  I just painted the whole thing white for three reasons, it was much easier, it will be easier to see by reflecting more light and it can't be seen without laying on your back and looking for it.

There are also a couple of additional trapezoidal pieces of plywood that I felt it needed a bit more strength and stiffness.  I am glad I did.  Now that the boat is turned over and have stood in the cockpit, it feels much more solid and secure.

Glue up of boom gallow. 

To stay busy while waiting to get my flipping crew together, I cut some strips and layer up my boom gallows.  It is the same method I used on the tiller what seems like now a long time ago.  I went a little thicker with the strips so the scale looked in proportion with the tiller.

Gallows modification.

One of the drawbacks of the boom gallows is having weight up high.  When I l did the lamination I left the last strip off so that I could drill holes to lighten things up.

Lots of holes should help the weight.

In the picture above you can see the dark strip on the right I used to cover the holes.

These two holes are for lashing the boom down.

I left room for a notch to hold the boom and a couple of hole for a tie down.

Hole production

With all the chips I swept up I figure I saved a lot of weight.  Not really sure how much, but it sure made a mess.

Tiller finish.

One of the task to stay busy was putting a finish on the tiller.  I like how it came out.  The boom gallows with hopefully look similar.

More finishing.

Thinned the varnish about 5% with mineral spirits and brushed it on.  It flows nice.

Cutting a scarf joint.

Having three or more tasks going on at once suits my brain pretty well.  I also built my spars.  In the picture above I am cutting a scarf joint.  I cheated a bit.  The hand plane was used to tune and get down to the final size.  Most of the hogging off of the wood was done with the 6X48 belt sander seen in the background of the picture.  I really throws the dust around.

No pictures of the spars yet.  Stay tuned I am really pushing hard to make the Texas 200 and still not compromise the quality of the boat.